Webinar held on sugarcane smallholders

Smallholder development in the sugar sector was discussed in a recent webinar organised by Innovation Forum with speakers from Solidaridad, Oxfam and Fair Trade. The main conclusions were:

  • Opportunities to increase responsible sugar production are with smallholders, as they produce 40% of world's sugarcane and there is still a lot of potential to improve yields.
  • There is a need for better access to finance (or pre-payment of farmers) in order for farmers to get access to inputs and technical knowledge to enable them to achieve the yield improvements.
  • To ensure change at scale, the solution lies in working through cooperatives. It is possible to use cooperatives as a platform to institutionalise continued improvement.
  • Another key issue is for companies to engage with what happens on the ground and to positively engage with smallholders. Rather than telling them what to do and not do, companies should aim for win-win situations and also try to join forces where possible in engaging with smallholders.

A recording of the discussion and further details can be found at this link. The webinar was held in advance of the Sustainable Sugar Forum to be held in London to discus responsible sugar supply chains.

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